U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will give remarks at the launch of StoryCorps' National Teachers Initiative on Monday, Sept. 19 at the White House. The National Teachers Initiative celebrates the brilliant and courageous work of public school teachers across the country. Additional participants expected to attend include U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Corporation for Public Broadcasting President Patricia Harrison, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board Chair Bruce Ramer, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and StoryCorps Founder & President Dave Isay.
During the the 2011-2012 school year, the first year of the National Teachers Initiative, StoryCorps will partner with individuals, institutions, community organizations, and school districts across the country to record at least 625 interviews with teachers and their interview partners. Their stories will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
StoryCorps is a national non-profit oral history project. Their National Teachers Initiative, part of "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen," places special attention on the work of teachers in urban and rural public school districts that are striving to increase the number of students who graduate prepared for college and careers. With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Initiative aims to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis.
Stories that will be shared during Monday's event include:
- Al Siedlecki, 8th grade science teacher at Medford Memorial Middle School (Medford,NJ)—Mr. Siedlecki inspired Dr. Lee Buono to become a neurosurgeon. The pair spoketo StoryCorps after a patient, whose ability to speak was restored by Dr. Buono, askedhim to thank the person who inspired him to become a surgeon.
- Ayodeji Ogunniyi, language arts teacher at Thornwood High School (South Holland,IL)—Mr. Ogunniyi came to StoryCorps to memorialize his father, a Nigerian immigrantwho was robbed and killed by teenagers while working as a cab driver. Mr. Ogunniyidescribes how the death of his father inspired him to leave medical school for aprofession he considered far more vital—teaching.
- Alex Fernandez, economics teacher, World Languages High School (Chicago, IL)—Mr.Fernandez came to StoryCorps with a former student, Noe Rueda, who is the eldest offour siblings raised by a single mother. Mr. Rueda, now a scholarship student at MarianUniversity, recalls how Mr. Fernandez inspired him to stay in school and succeed,despite the seemingly overwhelming obstacles in his path.
Members of the media who wish to cover this event must email [email protected] before 12 PM ET Friday, September 16. Media who do not have a White House hard pass must also submit their full name, date of birth, Social Security number, gender, country of birth, country of citizenship, and current city and state of residence.